Bateman, Bull Moose, 1970
Since I am now an octogenarian I am going to invoke the privilege of handing out advice and opinions. If you choose to doze off, I plan to post this address at RobertBateman.ca. I will be quoting various people from Mark Twain to the Rolling Stones as I go along. Mark Twain said, “Growing old is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” That same advice could apply to so many things in life – very Bhuddist. Twain also said, “Some of the worst things in my life … never happened.”
That leads me to my first piece of advice. DON’T WORRY. I mean it. Worrying makes no sense. Either do something about the problem if you can, or, if you can’t do something, forget it. I know that’s easier said than done so here is my second piece of advice: PROCRASTINATE. I don’t mean procrastinate about duties to be done. Don’t be a shirker. I mean procrastinate about worrying. Say to yourself, “I’m OK at the moment so I will worry about the problem later.” Some of the worst things in your life may never happen so why build up your own bad cortisol hormone and maybe raise your blood pressure and shorten your life for no point at all? If you keep procrastinating your worry, time will likely take care of everything (as my mother always said). (I tried this a few years ago when I had a cancer scare and it seemed to work.) Action is good but worrying has bad side effects. I’ve sometimes found it helpful to pretend that I’m in a movie.
Here are a couple of other tips in the worrying department. Try the three breath meditation. I am a hopeless meditator but I seem to be able to be mindful for three breaths. Ten is stretching it. If you are stressed, stop, relax your toes, relax your tongue, think about your finger tips and take three slow, conscious breaths … small investment for good results. What about the problems of the planet? I am well aware of the problems of the planet but I don’t wreck my days or nights obsessing about them. If you find yourself worrying about the state of the world, go outside, take your three breaths, address a tree and quietly say thank you. If you can’t find a tree a dandelion will do. Gratitude is a good idea and it is very under-rated in our society. We definitely owe gratitude to the plant kingdom. They are on our side. So pick your tree and express gratitude to it as a representative of the world’s flora. Go for a walk in nature even for a few minutes every day.
Personally I don’t lose a wink of sleep over the disasters happening to the planet. I try to do what I can in my own way – write letters, rant, make a donation etc., and then enjoy life on this beautiful planet. Follow E. O. Wilson’s advice; fall in love with life on earth. Love is better than fear. You are wasting your life if all you do is fret about such things. And you might only have one life.